Here's a  good article summarizing some things you may have learned at this year's HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) conference in Dublin. The key takeaways are:

  • Exclusivity through personalization and localization -- consumers expect to be catered to for their hospitality needs.
  • Upscale design  -- Design no longer is viewed as a luxury, but a trend to be honored.
  • Control and consumer transparency – consumers want to feel they are in control of their hospitality experience, whether it be using price comparison sites, placing live phone pictures online for others to see at websites like ComVu.com, or posting reviews of services on a website like Consumerist.com.
  • Hotels, particularly, “are a natural and organic place for social networking.”
  • Abundance – The wealth of opportunities to service micro niches – whether it be the Millennials or over 50s -- allows personalization of services and offerings.
  • Hotels need to be seen as being dedicated to green initiatives in order to appeal to travelers.

What I like about all of these key points is that they have very little to do with electronic distribution. Rather, they have everything to do with the keys to successful hospitality...design, story and care. The electronics part, the Internet, is an enabler...shifting control of the conversation from the hotel to the guest. And, as HEDNA correctly points out, tomorrow's guests (maybe even literally tomorrow) want to be a part of the conversation, not just outsiders looking in. It's the new form of engagement...are you ready?